Yesterday was one of those days that I liken to jumping out of a plane at 20,000 feet and believing that your parachute will open. It started out with my brother, Maduka and I driving around Victoria Island, Lagos, searching for a gym to get a workout in. Yesterday was good friday and many businesses in Lagos were closed. It took nearly an hour for us to find an open gym. After driving around endlessly and wasting a ton of gas, we finally found a gym in Lekki Beach. We paid our day fee and went to work.
Due to the fact that it took so long to find a gym, we ran late to get to our location to shoot the kids in Mushin, Lagos. Mushin is one of the toughest ghettos in Lagos and many people are terrified to go there. Many people’s lives flash before their eyes as they drive past Mushin, praying that their car doesn’t break down. This is where many of the fighters that have now become my friends, live and train. I wanted to hang out with them, talk to them and find out what they needed done in order to become the best that they can be. I want to shoot these conversations and share them with the world.
When we got to Mushin, the whole neighborhood was waiting for us. It felt like a scene out of a movie. The guys who ordinarily would have given us a hard time were fans of ours. We were going to put their area on the map. We had our “hood pass”. These guys would fight to keep us safe because if anything were to happen to us, their stories would not be heard. There was a mob everywhere we went. Everybody waved and chanted “champ” to me as we walked through the sometimes broken down buildings. I felt at home here.
Even though we were running late, instead of being stressed, somehow I knew that it would all work out. It truly did. We got great footage!! As a matter of fact, great doesn’t even begin to describe the footage we got. We were given unprecedented access to the boxers’ lives and families. They spoke candidly and freely about their plight. They trusted me completely. It was amazing. No one has ever shot footage like this here. I was so happy.
It was a huge day also because I was officially the director. I have been directing the shoot for the entire process of shooting the “Three Rounds” documentary, but yesterday, I chose the shots, set up the shots, and I sometimes worked the camera. It was so cool!! I never thought that I could do it, but just like most things in my life, I learn by the sink-or-swim rule. I continue to grow. We must continue to grow people.
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